Filthy gorgeous?

Date: 24 June.

Location: Venice Beach skate park.

Notable sightings: Warner Bros Studios backlots, the sets of Friends/Pretty Little Liars/Ellen/Batman/Perfect Storm/Chuck, skater dudes, medicinal weed evaluations, my backpack finally zipping shut.

I’m not sure what correct protocol is for the last day of a big trip. Sleep in? Drink yourself into in pleasant puddle over morning mimosas? Eat all of the greasy local foodstuffs that you’ve felt too guilty to eat to date? Obsessively charge all of your Apple devices for the plane? Swear violently and creatively as you try to squeeze your accumulated possessions Into a rucksack that seemed so roomy just three short months ago? I’m spending it doing a little of all of the above, and then half-watching the weirdos of Venice Beach stroll past, half-watching the skater dudes do their best to annihilate themselves on the hot concrete.

Venice is garish and nasty. Any resemblance to its namesake Italian city ends at pretentious Italian street names and it’s ersatz canals. The hotel concierge who enthused this morning how it’s ‘just all so European!’ has patently never been east of Interstate-5.

On the Venice Beach boardwalk for sale are tee-shirts in every shade of neon bearing every shade of offensive catchphrase imaginable (from ‘cool story babe, now go make me a sandwich’ to words I could have used while trying to zip up my rucksack this morning), weed and it’s crueller cousins, the ugliest ‘art’ you’ve ever seen, pizza, fries, trucker caps. Tattoo parlours occupy every third store. The weirdos are tricky to dodge. Their pets are alarmingly cute. The sun beats down on a large expanse of sand and a smattering of lanky palm trees. Boom boxes compete. Street artists hustle. The beggars could put the streets of Delhi to shame. Also, again as with India, it’s fun and colourful — but you take your life in your hands if you eat there.

After this, there’s precious little left for me to do save wander back to the hotel and kill time by the pool.

This week’s hotel is right on the gorgeous Santa Monica pier. However, much like Disney’s Hollywood Hotel Twilight Tower of Terror, this looks like a nice hotel from the outside but has some alarming bumps once you’re inside. Perhaps ths is me ageing because the following certainly sounds like something a old person would say: the service is just not up to scratch. Like, the time I locked myself out if my room in just my bikini and security wouldn’t let me back in because I didn’t have ID on me. Because it was locked in the room. Like, the time I was walking in from the pool and one of the staff activated the wheelchair doors and they slammed into my face. Like how I had a late checkout this morning but had three different maids bust in on me (eating strawberries in bed in just fluffy robe and watching gory back episodes of Criminal Minds) before midday. Okay, upon reflection, these stories seem to say most about my propensity for mishaps and embarrassing behaviour but make no mistake: TripAdvisor will hear about this.

I lost my last hair elastic in the surf this morning so perhaps it is time to go home after all?



Sunny day to stalk the members of The Big Bang cast at the Warner Bros Studios.

Found: Ellen’s bike outside her soundstage. Not found: Ellen.

The grottiest couch in the world, on the preserved set of a Friends.

Props department. What on earth will CSI be doing with a giant grass mushroom?

Venice skaterboys.

Venice grime.

Venice weirdos. To the right, bad Venice art.

The weirdos have the cutest pets! Totally broke my ‘no money to beggars’ rule. There’s a kitten/puppy loophole.












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